From hip hop to silver screen

Writer: 
Thè Thiri Kyaw

Renowned hip-hop artist Hlwan Paing started out on his music career as a member of the underground outfit ‘89’ while still a university student. He got his big break in 2009 when he was picked as one of the featured artists for Yè Lay’s “Third Rhyme” album. Ever since he has released a solo album and a duet album, participated in many group albums and performed in many concerts. Now he’s wearing another hat as an actor starring in a couple of films.  

Why do you want to cross over to the silver screen?

Last year Ko Bo San from Bo Bo Entertainment offered me a role in a film with other young singers. With Bo Bo Entertainment now branching out into film production, I’ve been discussing with them about the kind of films I want to make. Things have worked out so well that I’ve been cast as an actor. I’m currently doing films with Bo Bo Entertainment at the moment.

Tell us about your first film “Jarkin A Haung Lay” (Old Jacket) in which you played opposite Khin Win Wah.

I’ve been a big fan of Ko Thar Gyi (Dway). Among his films, I like the ones about university and student life. I thought about making such kind of films. Lately there haven’t been many films about youth and student life. As a student I always dreamed of making a film about my generation so I talked to the director about the plot for “Jarkin A Haung Lay”. And he liked my idea.

Your second film “67 Plaza” [featuring Thai actress Kaew Korravee] was quite unique.

Yes. This film is the story of a drug addict and a tattoo artist. It’s a ghost story. I had to speak in Thai in this film. The director The Khit Nay himself is a young man and his films are known for their unconventional plots. I would say everything worked out so well.

Was it hard to speak in Thai as a budding actor?

I had to memorise the dialogue and practiced beforehand but there might have been some slips in terms of intonation, especially in emotional scenes.

What’s in the pipeline?

I’ve recently finished filming “67 Plaza”. Right now I’m working on releasing the music videos for my album “Gita Sar So Hlwan Paing” while composing new songs for my next album.